Springfield businessman and philanthropist Guy Mace donated a remarkable collection of art and artifacts to Missouri State University’s department of art and design.
The collection includes African masks, figural wooden staffs and ceremonial knives and spears from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries along with Native American, Asian and Oceanic masks and headdresses.
Dr. Billie Follensbee, professor in the department of art and design and curator of the art history collections, said the gift’s impact is almost invaluable. “This builds on Mr. Mace’s past generosity and his dedication to the study of African and Oceanic art,” Follensbee said. “We believe it is the largest donation of museum-quality art and artifacts in Missouri State’s history.”
The new collections will be housed in archival space within Meyer Library provided by Thomas Peters, Missouri State dean of libraries. “These items are an outstanding addition,” Peters said. He noted the library’s plans for special cases and adjusted lighting, which will optimally display the exhibit.
Art history and museum studies students will soon make use of this gift by researching the history and context of the new pieces. According to Follensbee, “Mr. Mace’s generosity stems from his desire for these pieces to be seen and studied.”
Missouri State President Clif Smart recognized the donation’s significance for both student research activities and the university’s public affairs mission. “We’re honored that Guy entrusted us with this collection and excited about the opportunities it provides,” Smart said. “It is part of our commitment to the cultural life and understanding of our community.”
A preliminary exhibit of the new collection is being planned for the late fall or early spring.
Dr. Shawn Wahl, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said that such events are a defining part of Missouri State. “This is one reason we’re a destination campus for the arts,” Wahl said. “We’re thankful for donors like Mr. Mace, who recognize this mission and step up to support it.”
About the department of art and design
Missouri State’s department of art and design is the largest and one of the most varied publicly funded departments of art and design in Missouri. It is dedicated to providing quality curricular and extra-curricular experiences to develop culturally aware, independently minded and imaginative leaders by educating the next generation of creative thinkers in the visual and liberal arts, and to prepare individuals for careers in art, graphic design, illustration, art education and art history. The department is additionally dedicated to enhancing student and community understanding of and engagement with the visual dimensions of culture, serving the university and broader community through the Student Exhibition Center, the Brick City Gallery and other public venues and collaborative service activities.